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Smart cities and suburbs on the rise


Smart suburbs are evolving across the globe – from New York and London, to Sydney and beyond.

While high-speed wi-fi and charging stations for electric cars have become standard, some designers and developers are taking the smart suburb concept to a whole new level. This rise of technology-rich suburbs was identified in the Liveable City Futures report developed by international trend forecasters The Future Laboratory. The report, which tracks the factors that shape how we live, work and play, highlighted Australia as a smart suburb hotspot.


The Future Laboratory pinpointed the new Melbourne suburb of YarraBend as setting a benchmark – partly due to its focus on using technology to enhance residents’ lives. “Communities that know each other tend to look out for each other more,” says YarraBend creative director Len Warson. “Here, technology plays a key role in both connecting and creating a safer environment and a friendlier place to live, which enhances that feeling of wellbeing.” The developer, Glenvill, is embedding a range of tech features across YarraBend’s 37,543 square metres of amenities.


Innovations at YarraBend include a bespoke app for residents that will provide up-to-the-minute information on everything from how many people are using the gym to public transport schedules, and allow users to book into a spin class in the Health and Wellness Centre, and monitor their home electricity usage.

“When you check into a hotel or resort, you can use an app to explore the local amenities,” explains Warson. “We’ve taken that concept and expanded it. As we’ll provide car sharing at YarraBend, you can also go into a carpooling app, check whether there’s a free treadmill at the gym or order lunch from one of the local cafes. It’s all about making life easier.”

The smart suburb moniker will also be supported by charging stations for electric cars, low-energy lighting, solar power, and Tesla Powerwalls in all freestanding homes, which will help residents save on bills. With all this technology on the doorstep, it’s perhaps not surprising that The Future Laboratory describes YarraBend as “one of the most connected, diagnostic, responsive suburbs in the world”.

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